Last month, director Sam Levinson and his stars, Abel Tesfaye (aka the Weeknd) and Lily-Rose Depp, walked into the Lumière Theater at the Cannes Film Festival to premiere the first two episodes of their show, “The Idol,” to a standing ovation. The lights haven't dimmed yet, but pomp and celebrity fuels Cannes, where applause is cheap. By the time screenings wrapped, the excited crowd was back on its feet and critics were vying to dish out some of the most scathing reviews to emerge from this year's event, with a pot studded with spikes like “regressive,” “chauvinistic,” “skin crawling” And “grim disaster.”
“The Idol” centers on chart-breaking pop star Jocelyn (Depp), who, after having a nervous breakdown, prepares for a comeback. Surrounded by her handlers – her cast includes Hank Azaria, Troye Sivan, Jane Adams, Da'Vine Joy Randolph and horror film impresario Eli Roth – Jocelyn has made a lot of money for a lot of selfless people. One night at a Los Angeles dance club, she meets Tedros (Tesfaye), a delicate enigma with a rat tail. Before long, he had invited her back to his mansion and they were circling in the shadows, and a mystery had taken root: What was he doing with this world? This man?
Created by Levinson, Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, “The Idol”, which premiered on Sunday, was already a hot target when it was screened at Cannes. In the April 2022, word has it that the original director, Amy Seimetz, has left the show amid a creative shake-up. For whatever reason, brain trust in HBO decided to boost the show's notoriety in a mockerwas released three months later, which hailed Levinson and Tesfaye as “sick & twisted mindbehind “the dirtiest love story in all of Hollywood.” But the unwanted attention arrived this past March in damning ways Rolling Stone article that, among other rebukes, accused Levinson's version of a “rape fantasy”. The teaser has disappeared from HBO's YouTube channel.
Levinson, Tesfaye, and other “Idol” collaborators staunchly defended the show and its creators. “The process on set was very creative,” said Azaria in a news conference the day after the Cannes premiere, when Adams nodded. “I've been on many, many dysfunctional sets, believe me,” continues Azaria. “It's the opposite.”